1 Brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers. You know that we who teach will be judged more severely.
2 All of us make a lot of mistakes. If someone doesn’t make any mistakes when he speaks, he would be perfect. He would be able to control everything he does. 3 We put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, and we have control over everything they do. 4 The same thing is true for ships. They are very big and are driven by strong winds. Yet, by using small rudders, pilots steer ships wherever they want them to go. 5 In the same way the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can brag about doing important things.
A large forest can be set on fire by a little flame. 6 The tongue is that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell. 7 People have tamed all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures. 8 Yet, no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison.
9 With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness. 10 Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen! 11 Do clean and polluted water flow out of the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? In the same way, a pool of salt water can’t produce fresh water.
13 Do any of you have wisdom and insight? Show this by living the right way with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and filled with self-centered ambition, don’t brag. Don’t say that you are wise when it isn’t true. 15 That kind of wisdom doesn’t come from above. It belongs to this world. It is self-centered and demonic. 16 Wherever there is jealousy and rivalry, there is disorder and every kind of evil.
17 However, the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. Then it is peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good deeds, impartial, and sincere. 18 A harvest that has God’s approval comes from the peace planted by peacemakers.